Indonesian Muslim leaders reject support for any LGBT groups


Indonesia's most influential Muslim leaders said on Wednesday that they reject all promotion and support for lesbian and gay groups and encouraged the government to make gay sex and the promotion of LGBT activities illegal. The statement by the Indonesian Ulema Council and leaders of other Islamic organisations followed the government's move on Monday urging the U.N. Development Program to deny funding to programmes regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the government respected individual rights of sexual expression, "but it is wrong to encourage other people ... and to campaign for legalisation of same-sex marriage."

The council's statement said the clerics and other Muslim leaders supported the government's rejection of foreign funding of LGBT causes and they called for bans on promoting and funding LGBT activities in Indonesia.

The UNDP's representatives in Jakarta could not be reached for comment.

Most of Indonesian society is tolerant, but homosexuality is a sensitive issue and leaders in Indonesia's secular government have made high-profile attempts to dim LGBT visibility. It recently told instant messaging apps to remove stickers featuring same-sex couples, while a government minister last month said openly gay students should be banned from the University of Indonesia campuses. Some people worry that overseas funding could encourage a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in the country.

Activist Poedjiati of Gaya Nusantara, an LGBT advocacy group, said it is clearly a human rights violation to ban and criminalise their activities. She also did not see any chance for the country to move toward same-sex marriage.

"So far no one here ever talked about that," Poedjiati, who uses a single name, told journalists. "The issue of such marriage is still very, very far for Indonesia."    (AP)

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